Tips for Making a Good CD-R Master Disc

By · Tuesday, June 15th, 2010

Tips for Making a Good CD-R Master DiscThe best way to ensure that your copied discs will play back smoothly is to start with a good master disc. Whether you are copying discs with a CD duplicator tower or sending your disc in to have us produce it, a good master disc is essential to the success of every project.

Here are several tips to keep in mind when producing your master CD-R disc:

1. Use high quality blank CD-R media.
Many customers are put off by the slightly higher cost of premium discs such as Taiyo Yuden, Verbatim, and US Digital Media. Although the price difference may only be a few pennies, the difference in performance is significant. Grade-A media costs slightly more because it uses a higher grade of organic dye with fewer impurities, which results in a better quality burn.

2. Use CD-R discs instead of CD-RW.
In general, rewritable or erasable CD discs are not recommended for use as master discs. This is because rewriteable discs may encounter read errors in certain types of drives and recorders that do not fully support them. When this happens, the drive sees the disc as an “open master” or blank disc. We strongly encourage using CD-R discs for masters whenever possible.

3. Choose the right burn speed.
Most CD recorders are capable of burning discs at speeds of 48X or 52X. While this results in a quick burn, it may also result in small imperfections being written to the disc. We suggest using a slower burn speed (such as 24X) for recording master CDs because the slower speed gives the laser more time to make a good impression in the recordable dye layer.

4. Select “Disc-At-Once” for audio CDs.
Most professional CD recorders and software programs have the option to choose between Disc at Once or Track at Once mode when recording. Disc-At-Once is preferred because all tracks are recorded without stopping the laser and then the disc is finalized. With Track at Once, each song on the disc is finalized after it is burned, which may result in a pause or gap between audio tracks.

5. Do NOT use packet-writing software to create masters!
Operating systems such as Windows XP and Mac OS X have the ability to write information to recordable CD discs in small increments (or “packets”) of data. These discs are easily read by the computer they were produced on, but may not be finalized when burning is complete. Often times, packet discs will have trouble playing back on other devices.

6. Make sure to finalize your disc.
Finalizing a disc writes a small section of information on the disc called a “Lead Out.” This means that the disc is finished recording and cannot store any new information. Finalizing also means that the disc is ready for use in other players. This step is very important and should not be overlooked!

7. Test your master disc.
Testing helps identify small problems with discs before they become big problems. We recommend that you test your CD disc in as many machines as possible. Some devices to try include your computer, home stereo, DVD player, video game console, CD boom box, car stereo, and portable CD player if you have one.

8. Store your discs securely.
Master CDs should be handled with care. Make sure to touch them only around the outer edge and the center hub to avoid fingerprints and scratches. Discs should be stored in a cool, dry place away from direct sunlight. An ideal storage case would be one that does not come in contact with the disc surface, such as a CD jewel case.

These tips should help you avoid the majority of problems associated with copying recordable CDs. If you need to purchase some high quality blank CD-R discs, please visit our website at today. There you can shop our wide selection of blank CDs including shiny silver, inkjet printable, thermal printable, and LightScribe printable CD-R discs at great low prices. Check it out!

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